Friday, September 01, 2006

This is your postcard from Sweden

My husband works for a Swedish company, so I'm along on his trip to the home office in Gothenburg (Göteborg), jah. For those of you unfamiliar with Swedish geography, the country is shaped like a sausage and is located between its Scandanavian neighbors Norway and Finland. Most of the action happens in the lower third of the country along the Baltic Sea. Stockholm is on the eastern coast and Gothenburg, the second largest city, is on the western coast.

After taking the train to Newark Airport, spending a short night on a Lufthansa flight (where everyone gets 2 meals, metal utensils, a blanket, & pillow) and a brief layover in Germany, we landed in the home of Saab, Volvo, and gummy fish.

Walking into our hotel room was like walking into an IKEA showroom: hardwood floors, tuxedo sofa, drum shades, curtains in lieu of closet doors, and parsons tables. Classic Swedish minimalism with a touch of nature (flower photo curtain, fake apple blossoms in the lobby). The bathroom has heated tile floors and towel bars to stave off the winter chill.

This afternoon we took a short nap to recharge a little, and then walked around the main shopping district in Gothenburg. Red tile roofs like in Italy, Dutch-designed canals, brick sidewalks, and outdoor cafés everywhere. As with many modern cities, there is a blending of old and new architecture; our contemporary steel and glass hotel is juxtaposed against the old brick arches of Central Station. The weather is in the 60s and overcast, but I've been jonesing for fall so this is perfect.

Quotes for the day:
"How's your teriyaki? It's not very Swiss for our first meal here; at least they serve quiche like this at Ikea." (Swedish... Swiss... same difference!)
"Cool, they post the weather report in the elevator. Too bad it's for January." (They write the date month/day here so today it's 1/9.)
"I'm not going to Burger King." "It's a Sweden Burger King; that's totally different."

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